The reign of American Apparel founder Dov Charney has been fraught with controversy—from allegations of sexual harassment to workplace discrimination—and it seems like the board of the company is finally taking action. The company’s board of directors announced today that American Apparel plans to fire Charney “for cause,” citing continuing investigations into alleged misconduct. Charney’s termination will be effective following a required 30-day period that was built into his employment contract. He is suspended effective immediately.
In statement, board member Allan Mayer said: “We take no joy in this, but the Board felt it was the right thing to do. Dov Charney created American Apparel, but the Company has grown much larger than any one individual and we are confident that its greatest days are still ahead.”
Charney’s reputation for bad behavior has certainly not helped his standing at the company. In 2011, a former employee alleged that Charney kept her as a “teenage sex slave,” even going so far as to imprison her in his home. She also sued American Apparel for failing to stop him from acting as a “sexual predator.” In 2012, Charney was accused of choking and rubbing dirt in the face of a former store manager after calling the employee “a wannabe Jew” and a “fag.” The company denied the allegations. To top it off, there have also been reports that Charney would conduct interviews and company meetings in his underwear. Amid mounting accusations, it’s safe to say Charney no longer seems like a good spokesperson for the company.
His sexually charged ads featuring young girls in racy poses have been both lauded and criticized for their provocative nature. Some are so racy they have been banned from overseas markets. The attention-grabbing style seems to have worn off, however, because the business side of things at American Apparel have apparently seen better days—the company is currently struggling with low sales and $240 million in debt, according to Reuters. Rumors have started to swirl that, since the company was facing so many money troubles, Charney’s troublemaking personality was no longer worth keeping on board.
It does make us wonder whether he has known this move was eventually coming. In an interview with Marketplace, he was quoted as saying, “My biggest weakness is me. I mean, lock me up already! It’s obvious! Put me in a cage, I’ll be fine. […] I’m my own worst enemy. But what can you do? I was born strange.”
How do you feel about the cantankerous CEO?